Shea and I flew over to Edinburgh, Scotland from Friday, May 21st through Monday, May 24th. We arrived around lunchtime and took a bus from the airport to our B&B hotel near the heart of the city. We dropped off our bags and headed back into the city for a 3:00 walking tour that took you along the famous Royal Mile. They told us a lot about the history of Scotland and Edinburgh as they showed us the Edinburgh Castle, Prince's Street gardens, Greyfriars Cemetary and Greyfriars Bobby, William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny, the home of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and of course for you Harry Potter fans the original Hogwarts.
Known for its bad weather, we were treated to nothing but bright sunny skies and warm temperatures throughout the length of our stay. We thought the city was amazing with beautiful views and wonderful old tenements all leading up to the castle seated atop the hill. After the tour, we headed to a local pub to reward ourselves with some traditional Scotland cuisine...haggis, neeps, and tatties. Haggis is sheep, but I will spare you what parts, neeps being turnips, and tatties are mashed potatoes. We had heard that most Scottish cuisine was based on a dare, but we found the food to be delicious.
After filling our stomachs, we headed back to Maggie Dickson's Pub and sat outside and made our first Scottish friends until it was time to head to bed.
On Saturday, we started the day with a traditional Scottish breakfast...blood pudding, beans, egg, hashbrown, ham, and spam (our arteries will remember this trip longer than we will). We then headed to the Edinburgh castle for a tour of the inside. We arrived as the military was on parade with baggers and kilts everywhere. We took the tour of the castle, which took several hours to complete. Then we walked back down to the other end of the Royal Mile to see the Royal Palace and the new modern Scottish Parliament building. From there, we wandered into the "New City", which is the more modern area of town dating back to the Enlightenment period when Edinburgh became known for its writers, poets, artists, and culture. We were rewarded with some amazing views of the city from here.
That evening we had some dinner, then stopped into a pub to watch the end of the European Soccer Championships. We were quickly adopted by some new Scottish best friends, who proceeded to show us all the best pubs on a makeshift pub crawl. After hours of laughing, drinking, dancing, and trading stories, we headed home for bed in preparation for our Highlands tour the following day.
On Sunday, we woke up early and headed into town to catch a bus for a Scottish Highlands tour. The tour guide drove us into and through the Scottish mountains, with breathtaking views of waterfalls, lakes, and mountain summits. Along the way, we were introduced to some shaggy haired Highland cattle and Shea took the opportunity to feed them while doing her best William Wallace impersonation. The tour then drove us North to the famous Loch (Lake) Ness, where we boarded a boat to do some Nessy hunting. Unfortunately, we didn't get a glimpse of the old girl, but we did get to enjoy some natural splendor and a taste of some local whiskeys. The tour went as far North as Iverness, before we headed back to Edinburgh and over the Firth of Forth, finishing a 12 hour mad dash through the middle of the country.
Monday, before the rain started to come in, we caught our flight back to Frankfurt. We had an absolutely wonderful time in Scotland. The people were out-of-their-way friendly and the landscape was historic and beautiful. We would love to get a chance to go back someday and experience it even more.